Judge Cannon is on an unsealing binge


The judge overseeing  President Donald Trump’s classified documents case has ordered another round of unsealing of evidence in the case, with the latest batch exposing that one of the Justice Department’s top lawyers went so far as to threaten the attorney of a Trump defendant.

Investigative reporter Julie Kelly revealed the previously redacted story of attorney Stanley Woodward’s meeting with DOJ prosecutor Jay Bratt where they met to discuss the trial of his client and former Trump aide Walt Nauta. According to one of the documents, which corroborates statements by Nauta’s defense team last year, Woodward was cautioned by Bratt against representing his client, and if he proceeded then his application for a judgeship may be tanked.

“Upon Mr. Woodward’s arrival at Main Justice, he was led to a conference room where Mr. Bratt awaited with what appeared to be a folder containing information about Mr. Woodward,” the document reads. “Mr. Bratt thereupon told Mr. Woodward he didn’t consider him to be a ‘Trump lawyer,’ and he further said that he was aware that Mr. Woodward had been recommended to President Biden for an appointment to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.”

“Mr. Bratt followed up with words to the effect of ‘I wouldn’t want to do anything to mess that up,” it goes on.

In other words, the document concludes, DOJ was leaning on Nauta’s attorney to “‘play ball or you have no chance of becoming a judge.’”

Nauta, a Navy veteran and former bodyguard to Trump, faces six federal charges including conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, scheming to conceal, and making false statements to federal agents, according to the New York Post. He may spend decades in prison and be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential fines.

At the time, President Trump spoke out in defense of his aide, posting on Truth Social that his prosecution is another instance of the Biden Justice Department targeting the president’s top political rival.

“I have just learned that the ‘Thugs’ from the Department of Injustice will be Indicting a wonderful man, Walt Nauta, a member of the U.S. Navy, who served proudly with me in the White House, retired as Senior Chief, and then transitioned into private life as a personal aide,” he wrote.

“He has done a fantastic job! They are trying to destroy his life, like the lives of so many others, hoping that he will say bad things about ‘Trump.’ He is strong, brave, and a Great Patriot. The FBI and DOJ are CORRUPT!”

James Trusty, a former Trump lawyer, told CNN in June of 2023 that his colleague Woodward is an upstanding officer of the court who didn’t deserve the strong-arming by Bratt.

“He apparently, along with five other people in his presence from DOJ, extorted a very well-respected, very intelligent lawyer from Washington, DC, saying essentially, ‘If you want this judgeship that’s on Joe Biden’s desk, you have to flip your guy to cooperate against the President of the United States,’” Trusty said.

Earlier this week, Florida U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered special counsel Jack Smith to unseal portions of evidence containing testimony from members of the National Archives confirming that it is “common” for the pursuit of sensitive documents to go on long after a president has left the White House. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who for months has maintained that Smith’s probe is independent of his leadership, was revealed to have approved a “full investigation” of how classified documents could be retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.


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